A first half penalty converted by Ifeanyi Egwim was all it took Dolphins to end their winless start to the season as they laboured to a 1-0 win over Rangers of Enugu on Wednesday evening according to npfl.ng.
Both teams have struggled in recent times with Dolphins yet to win a game this term while Rangers have lost their last two games by 1-0 margins including Sunday’s home loss to Giwa FC.
Two defeats on the trot would become three for the Flying Antelopes at the Liberation Stadium as former Rangers star Ifeanyi Egwim squeezed past Chigozie Agbim from the spot on 32 minutes after Orji Kalu had handled Chinwendu Ali’s cross.
It was Agbim’s first start for Rangers since completing his return to the Coal City side from relegated Gombe United and while he was barely tested throughout the game, his opposite number Sunday Rotimi was also rarely called to action during the cagey encounter.
The fact that Egwim’s goal after half an hour of football was the first attempt on target from either side summarized the tentative nature of the game watched by a sizeable number of spectator, decent enough for a midweek clash in Port Harcourt.
Egwim’s goal forced Rangers into an early substitution as Port Harcourt boy, Marshall Odah took the place of Bitrus Dada with 10 minutes left to play in the first half. Odah brought some spark into the game but that was just about all.
The rains threatened at the start of the second half but only drizzled as both teams labour hard to impress their expectant fans after poor run of forms.
Dolphins missed a chance to double the advantage midway through the second half after a sloppy Rangers defending sent Sochuma Elum through but the young striker shot wide from 18 yards.
What was to be a worse miss and a contender for miss of the season was to come for Rangers with two minutes left on the clock when substitute Emmanuel Eze who had replaced Osaz Okoro in a tactical switch found space and time inside the box but shot wide off Rotimi’s right hand post.
The home fans screamed in disbelief regardless of their not wanting to see a goal that would deny their beloved team the full marks yet again.
That summed up Rangers’ current form which has seen them go without a goal in 270 minutes of football, losing by the odd goal for a 3rd consecutive league game.
DOLPHINS: 22. Sunday Rotimi 6. Ayobami Asekunowo 26. Jonathan Zikiye 18. Onyekachi Akakem 5. Joseph Douhadji 4. Cyril Oriakhu 10. Victor Alegbe 13. Ifeanyi Egwim (Omo Johnson 66′) 31. Sochuma Elum 29. Ayo
Saka (Tijani Adamu 68′) 11. Chiwendu Ali (Hope Fiberesima 85′)
Unused Subs: 25. Godwin Ayalogu 12. Kingsley Ashu 19. Festus Austin 32. Daniel Israel
BOOKED: Onyekachi Akakem 11′, Cyril Oriakhu 42′
GOAL: Ifeanyi Egwim 32′
RANGERS: 34. Chigozie Agbim 2. Mathew Etim 25. Alex Emenike 22. Orji Kalu 5. Pape Ousmane 7. Osas Okoro (Emmanuel Eze 71′) 20. Emeka Eze (c) 25. Chinedu Udeagha 14. Dada Bitrus (Marshall Odah 37′) 19. Godwin
Aguda 9. Rasaq Adegbite (Chisom Egbuchulam 58′)
Unused Subs: 30. Itodo Akor 13. Christian Madu 4. Justice Chinedu 18. Okey Odita
BOOKED: Alex Emenike 35′